When you get a new follower in Google+ or LinkedIn it says:

XYZ followed you!

Why do you use the past tense there as if they now have stopped following you (which would mean the opposite)?

  • Please do not confuse Google+ or LinkedIn with whatever you mean by 'you'. It's headlinese, probably for 'XYZ have looked at your blog'. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 10 '18 at 10:45
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    In normal speech, one would expect the present perfect, but on websites like this, "followed" or "liked" means "This user has clicked the 'FOLLOW' or 'LIKE' button on your profile, post, whatever." Thus the simple past. – KarlG Feb 10 '18 at 11:48
  • @KarlG: So in "normal" speech you would say "XYZ has followed you"? I would have expected something like "XYZ is now following you". Could you pls. explain. Thank you. – vonjd Feb 10 '18 at 12:57
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    Follow is being used in a punctual, inchoative sense here, referring not to the continued state of being a follower of someone, but to the momentary action of clicking the “Follow” button and becoming a follower. That punctual action is in the past, so a simple past tense makes sense. A perfect construction also makes sense (if X clicked yesterday, he will by definition now be in a state of having clicked). Other sites use the perhaps more traditional continuous sense: “X is now following you”, which may be more logical to some. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 10 '18 at 13:50
  • Yeah, what he said. – KarlG Feb 10 '18 at 16:21

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